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Yesterday was our first evening ride after Daylight Saving Time fell back. This means dark descends long before my cycling buddy and I can get a ride in. So we charge up the headlights and taillights and roll out. On gravel bikes. On dirt roads.
Our dirt roads have potholes. Lots of potholes. Potholes slow traffic. And this is good.
Every year I go through the same progression. I love the speed of road riding so I stick mostly to paved roads through the summer. I dig the gravel bike out, hit the dirt roads, pick a day that’s way too dusty, realize I don’t like dirt too much, pick another day that’s way too muddy, realize I love playing in the mud but hate trying to clean the bike after, hit “fall back” Daylight Saving Time, become friends with dirt roads again because there’s no traffic on them, realize how much I love my gravel bike even though it’s ridiculously heavy (by my standards, not historical), enjoy the dirt roads even more – especially when the dirt freezes up and it’s too cold for skinny tires. Freezing temps mean no mud.
This year, I’ve added a few wrinkles to the enjoyment of playing in the dirt.
I’ve become much more trusting of my gravel bike not withering away in a pile of rust when it gets muddy. I know how to spray it off so the bearings don’t get messed up and I use a soft-bristled brush to get the stuck-on mud off while I’m spraying it down. Then I dry it off, lube the important parts and, amazingly, nothing rusts or rots (except the jockey wheel plates – oops). I also know how to clean out the disk brakes so they don’t grind, catch, rub, click or squeal. I clean the bike, including the bottom bracket and headset, regularly. My bearings still look new.
And so it was, Chuck and I rolled out for our first dusk-to-dark ride of the year. The temperature was glorious, 61 falling to 55 as we were to finish – enough you could almost justify shorts and short-sleeves. Not quite, though. I had a long-sleeved thermal and knee warmers and a light cap. Almost a little over-dressed with the thermal, but once the sun went down it turned out to be the perfect choice.
We rode 21 miles together, most of it side-by-side talking about fun stuff to talk about, and were passed by a grand total of two cars on the dirt part of the ride (we do a mix of groad on the weekdays – it’s a real word, gravel and road). The dirt was in perfect condition last night. Hard packed, no dust, minimal potholes (just enough to keep the traffic slow), and zero mud.
It was, without question, a perfect ride. See, in our little slice of America, when we’re on the dirt roads with our bike, we’re treated like we belong there by other motorists. I don’t know if it’s that motorists don’t mind ceding dirt roads to us as bicycle territory or that the enema nozzles in pickup trucks are concentrated on the paved roads. In the end, I suppose I just need to be thankful we’ve got a place where everyone waves at us and gives us three to eight feet as they pass.
This year’s dirt season has arrived, and I’m glad it’s here. I can’t give up the speed of road riding, but I don’t mind it when it’s time to put the trainer wheel on the road bike and take the gravel bike out to play.
One thing is certain for we part-time bike mechanics, we get a lot of practice maintaining the gravel bikes.
Ride hard my friends. The other option is polishing the couch with your fanny, and while it may sound good for a minute, sooner or later you find that sofa sucks the life right out of you.
Knee-Slapper of the Day from Dr. Anthony Fauci: “We’ll have to wait and see” if we can gather for Christmas…
Never in my adult life can I remember the Washington Bubble being so off from the rest of the country. It’s absolutely astonishing to watch. Better, I’ve also never seen so many of those empty suits caught exhibiting behavior contrary to that which they preach.
Over the weekend, when asked by a reporter if families would have to limit their family Christmas visits for a second year, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, ““It’s just too soon to tell. We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time. Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down, and we can do it by people getting vaccinated. And also, in this situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted“
I get together with my family because it’s Friday. You’re literally nuts if you think I’m limiting my family visits after I’m vaccinated (and likely had Covid in March of 2020). After all that we’ve been through, I’m amazed that, not only are these knuckleheads talking about people limiting their Holiday plans (and Christmas is a capital “H” Holiday), after they’ve demonstrably broken their own advice so often, what’s shocking is they think sane people are listening in the first place!
I can promise you, I’m no less sophisticated and vaccinated than the ex-president and his friends who partied hard (and unmasked) for his birthday. I’ll be doing the same this Christmas, regardless of what any political hack has to say about it. Come to think of it, there won’t be any booze at our family gatherings, so those gatherings will be even more sophisticated. Technically.
Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that …Mild COVID-19 induces lasting antibody protection
We visited a fully free state over the weekend and there was some hand wringing from vaccinated people about all of the people milling about without masks… comments about how scary it was.
I, on the other hand, had read the science and not the newspapers, so I was perfectly content.
Imagine my lack of surprise when Tony wrote the post above… based on science and all we’ve known about disease over the last five or ten decades.
Gotta love the hype. I feel sorry for those who continue to buy into it.
The Surprising Consequence of Going Through the Vaccine Flu that Isn’t Talked About (Likely Because It’s GOOD)
What I’m about to describe has happened to everyone I know who has struggled with the first or second shots (or in my case, both). I haven’t heard or read a peep about this – and when I fill out the CDC questionnaire, they really don’t give an opportunity to riff about your experience. I’ll go with my second shot because it’ll make for a shorter, more readable post. For the first, and the long version, stretch the bad stuff out over a full week and add about 20% to the intensity of the symptoms. Thank you, my most excellent immune system.
My wife and I got my second jab Friday, expecting to sail through it because I had such a rough go with the first. My wife felt her symptoms come on first, just three hours after getting stuck. I, however, felt quite good three hours in. I was relieved. For exactly 1 hour and 58 minutes. My symptoms washed over me like the second 10′ wave on an ocean beach… the first is all giggles as it peaks just over your head… you’ve jumped and it catches you a little off guard, but you’re good and you bob down on the back of the wave. Then the second wave smacks you like a train right in the arm and topples you, dragging you across the bottom for a second. In the space of fifteen minutes I went from smiling to a shivering, sore, pile of I’m not moving from this couch, somebody put in a movie, please. Tylenol, or the preferred Advil Dual Action, would take the edge off the symptoms but would invariably lead to me going from freezing with two blankets on to sweating profusely with my robe flung open and both blankets discarded in just a t-shirt and fleece pajama pants. This would repeat every seven hours (and, of course, you’re only supposed to take two ADAs every eight hours). I went to bed Saturday night knowing I’d be a wreck for Sunday as well.
I slept in a couple hours longer than normal and woke up vastly improved and quite happily surprised. I went for a decent, easy ride with my friends but kept it to the couch and rested up for the remainder of the day. I felt better, but I didn’t feel all that great, either.
Then Monday hit. I felt I didn’t sleep long enough, but when I was up, I was up so I just rolled with it. The day buzzed by because I’m outrageously busy and long about lunchtime, I felt energized. It wasn’t emotional relief, either, I simply felt good. I realized I’d been feeling better than normal most of the morning and it lasted throughout the day and night, into this morning (and I’m hoping into this evening because it’s Tuesday night, baby).
I’m not the only one to experience this, either. Every person I know who had a tough time with either of the vaccine pokes has experienced something similar. With my first shot, after the week of hell I went through, the week or two after… well, it was worth it… I’ve got a great description, actually. So, imagine you’re a big rechargeable battery (in a sense, we are, though we recharge with sleep, beef and bacon). Now, imagine you get left on the charger a little longer than normal and instead of the charge stopping at 100%, you actually fill up to 105%. That’s how it feels, like I’ve got an extra 5% in the tank.
It has its limits, of course. By the time I hit 4 in the afternoon yesterday, driving home from work, I was done. I suited up for a ride, but it was a short easy spin (I was supposed to attend my youngest’s honor award ceremony last night but her tennis match went long so she missed it – entirely her choice and I was not bummed she made that one).
Anyway, point being, if you’ve got some trepidation about getting the vaccine in the first place, it’s not all bad news, doom and gloom if you feel symptoms. The feeling of being super-charged at the end is quite wonderful.
It is currently 5:40 in the am, Sunday. I got a full seven hours of sleep last night and my vaccine flu broke sometime during that stretch in bed. I sweated through two t-shirts last night, one before I went to bed was drenched and I didn’t even know it till I took it off (my fever was so intense, the moisture wasn’t even cold). This is much better than the first shot for me. With the first, it was a full week before I was back to normal, or to put it closer to where I’m at this morning, it took me five days to feel as good as I do after a day-and-a-half.
I was hoping to sail through the second shot after my body’s enthusiastic reaction to the first, but it just wasn’t to be. However, this’ll do. I was certain I wouldn’t be riding today when I went to bed. As I sit here, I don’t think there’s any question I’ll suit up this morning – in fact, my Dual Action Advil just wore off… I would have started shivering an hour ago if there wasn’t significant improvement over the night.
In my post yesterday, I wrote harshly about a woman my wife and I ran into at the bike shop. Her take on Covid was highly irrational and her behaviors in that regard were even less rational.
A friend whom I’ve been following for years commented:
I understand your frustration. In fact, I share it. But, this covid thing is highly emotional and I think you just need to be patient with people like that lady. I find it too easy to condemn her and be annoyed with her. But, a lot of people have died from this and there are those among us who are afraid of catching it. Don’t look for rationality where it doesn’t exist, even if you think it should, or ought to. She had an emotional response. I consider this subject to be the same as religion, unions and politics. Don’t argue because you aren’t going to change anyone. All you will do is fuel the emotional fire.
[ED. Emphasis provided by me]
Tony is right. I have no doubt I’m suffering Covid fatigue, but that’s not an excuse. Here’s my response:
You make an excellent point, Tony. While it doesn’t exactly fit, I can absolutely tailor it to fit me. As a recovered alcoholic working a daily recovery program, looking at myself first is normal… most people don’t possess the ability to look at their own lives and deduce that what they’re doing is slightly irrational. Thanks for opening my eyes, it’s appreciated.
Gotta work on that empathy. That’s one [area] I can use a lot of improvement.
Today I’m thankful for being on the mend… and possessing the ability to remain teachable. Now it’s time to get the bike ready for a spin! WOOHOO! I’m done, baby! Almost back to normal. And it’s been far too long.
And Sometimes You Get the Horns… Vaccine Flu Pt. 2: This One Might Be Enough for a Day on the Couch.
I had high hopes for my wife and I on the occasion of our second poke yesterday. I saw myself sailing through it. I’d hydrated, taken my Vitamin D, even got some early miles on the bike because I played hooky for my second shot so I would be resting comfortably at home as the vaccine took hold.
Immediately after the shot I felt a little off, but I put that to being hungry. We went to our favorite restaurant and took care of that issue and I felt quite good. My wife started with a low fever first, about three hours after her jab. I was doing maintenance on the bikes and feeling quite fantastic. I stayed hydrated and thought, finally, I was going to sail through the second.
Two hours later I was cold and I degraded quickly. My arm hurt like it stopped a hammer though the rest of the symptoms weren’t near as bad as the first shot, so I thought maybe I could sweat it out. I was a wreck by bedtime. I was sore, but again, not as bad as the first shot… also, the first shot took me a day to react harshly to, this one hammered me in five hours.
I went to sleep after taking a couple of Tylenol to help me sleep through the aches. At two in the morning, apparently that Tylenol wore off because I was hurting pretty bad. I rolled out of bed and took a couple more Tylenol and set on the couch to write this. The pain meds did their trick and I’m not feeling so bad again… actually, other than the sweating I feel quite good… and I’m going back to sleep.
Maybe I’ll be one of those who, after a day and a nap wakes up to feel better and recharged? Fingers crossed. We’re riding in six hours.
After that nap I’m feeling much better… I just may give it a go after some research that “experts” said it should be okay to exercise after the shot, and my butt is longing for my Venge.
Update: it was the Tylenol. I feel like
My wife just took my temp: 101.2.
In funny Covid-19 news, Sanjay Gupta recently said,
I wonder if you know where this is going… when did we start wearing masks outdoors?!
That would be a never. Now, granted, you can’t actually see anyone’s face in that photo… you’re just going to have to trust me. There are none. And certainly not now that the susceptible seniors are vaccinated.
In fact, that report was from yesterday. This is from the CDC two weeks ago, for Easter celebrations:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
- Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
Now, I wonder why the left in the United States are so ill-informed.
Here’s a better one. We were at the bike shop yesterday and a woman comes in with a mask covering her mouth only. My wife offers that we’d just gotten our second shot. She, of course, backs up six more feet on top of the five already between us and says, “Oh, my, you’ll have to stay away from me. I’m not getting the vaccine because I spoke with four doctors who recommended not to, and you’ll be protein shedding for another two weeks.”
I responded, “Good luck with that [not getting the vaccine]”.
She went on for a minute that we were a danger to others for two weeks. I laughed and walked away. If “protein shedding” were a thing, I’d have heard about it already.
Now, humorously, my wife let me in on the fact that this very woman is taking HGH and has been trying to recruit my wife into a multiple tier marketing scam. And she’s on the stuff.
So let’s take an accounting:
- She walked into the shop with her mask down below her nose. The word “useless” comes to mind.
- She’s on HGH but the vaccine is just a bridge too far – and four doctors have told her not to get said vaccine.
- First, why is it always four doctors? And are all of the kooks talking to the same four doctors?!
- Aaaand better still, all of that and she’s nutty enough to believe in “protein shedding”. In vaccinated people.
God help us all.
It was raining Monday so I had no problem with a day off the bike. The weekend was filled with big, hard miles and I’ve got a new focus for this year that won’t have so much “gotta ride every day” to it so when Tuesday was unseasonably cold well, I didn’t have a problem taking another day off. Snow flurries hit Tuesday night – we had an inch and some change sitting on the ground when I got to the office Wednesday morning. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday was cold with more wind. That new outlook of mine is only going to go so far. I just couldn’t take another day off, but I had no desire to ride outside…
I decided to swap out rear wheels and put my bike on the trainer.
Two minutes into my session and I realized why I’ve had such good spring roll outs these last two years… that 45 minute session was hard.
I’d run Star Wars Rogue One in the Blueray player and started out in what I thought should have been an easy gear. A minute into it, with the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround blasting, I was huffing and puffing… and starting to sweat already. I was showing a paltry 16-mph on the Garmin but the speed sensor runs slow (I was closer to 19). After a good warm-up I shifted one gear harder and the progressive resistance on the trainer kicked back. My speed jumped to 18-mph but I was pushing the same watts I do on a Tuesday night at 26-mph. I held that for ten or fifteen minutes, then downshifted for a break. Five minutes later it was back into the hard gear and I held that for another ten before another break. The last five minutes were cranked out hard. I averaged, according to my speed sensor, a whopping 16-mph average for 45 minutes (chuckle).
When I rolled out of bed this morning I felt like I was 82. My calf muscles feel like they’re attached to piano wires. My butt is angry and sitting it out in the corner, moping and I’m generally wondering who hit me with a truck.
And I love it.
The cold leaves today, thankfully. It’ll be a little rough, just hitting 50 in my neighborhood, but tomorrow is supposed to be quite lovely. We’ll get rain Saturday which fits the schedule perfectly because my wife and I are getting our second jab tomorrow. I’m taking the day off, too. I’m going to ride in the morning with the Friday retiree gang (and my wife) and then we’re going to get our shot. Then we’ll have Friday afternoon and all day Saturday to shake the vaccine off before rolling out Sunday to what should be some glorious weather.
It’s going to be a light week on the bike, but I can feel the weight coming off nicely (my jeans, wedding ring and watch all fit just a little looser) and a rest week probably isn’t a bad idea, anyway. Back to normal is only two weeks away for me. Technically, it’s already here, but let’s keep that between us… I wouldn’t want Atilla the Whitmer to get wind I’m not quaking in my boots behind six masks and a face-shield over COVID. She might send her Rottweiler AG after me for showing a lack of piety to the Governmental Apparatus. We wouldn’t want that, now.
I rode 52-ish miles with my friends Sunday morning. After struggling with the vaccine flu much of the week, our CFO gave me a gift of a mild case of the sniffles, which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t have been an issue – I doubt I’d have even gotten sick. Being drained from my body’s vociferous reaction to the vaccine, though, that case of the sniffles hit me hard. I was feeling pretty gnarly afterward.
Yesterday was another day, though. I woke up in a pool of my own sweat in the morning, so I figured I’d sweat it out the night before. I felt reasonably okay much of the day, though I faded as the day wore on. I made my way home a little early and managed a 15 minute nap before suiting up and that helped a lot. I rolled off down the road to pick Chuck up at 4:50, hoping I’d get to his house for the extra miles, but he met me about 3/4s of a mile up my street. I was feeling considerably better, but riding tends to run me down pretty quick of late and that usually means a rough night of sleep.
The plan was pretty simple; a nice, enjoyable 20-miler at a “Tuesday Night is tomorrow so let’s chill” pace. And that lasted for about two miles. I can’t remember if it was Chuck or me who took the pace up first, but it got hot in a hurry. I was on the Venge and it’s an absolute missile this year. Low and sleek in the front end, the Fast & Light 50 wheels… it’s just fast, solid and a wonder of perfectly solid craftsmanship. All of a sudden, we’re seven miles in looking at a 19.2-mph average and I start thinking, “Wait a minute… tomorrow’s TUESDAY NIGHT“.
I mentioned as much to Chuck and we both decided to dial it back considerably. While I struggled with being a little under the weather, the ride was fantastic and the conditions were spectacular (light breeze out of the south, partly cloudy, and room temperature).
And I paid for it last night. Worth it.
So, I don’t know if I’m going to head out to Lennon or not. I’m not 100% (hell, I’m not 80%), but there’s that need for speed that simply must be satisfied. Maybe I’ll go out and see how it goes… I’ll give it my best and if 80% isn’t good enough, I can simply slip off the back and take it home at my leisure. That’s probably how it’ll go.
One thing is for sure; I’ve had about enough of being sick for the next five or six years!
My vaccine flu is hanging on… you know what, it’s Easter, I’m not saying anything bad about anything. Let’s just say, it won’t let go. I’ve been off Tylenol for a couple of days, and I feel like my normal self the vast majority of the time, there are simply periods of time where, as good as I may feel, it’s just enough to let me know I’m not quite over the finish line yet.
Friday night was an interesting night of sleep for me. I rode Friday evening with Chucker and it was quite chilly. On finishing the ride, after feeling reasonably good all day, the chills started when I got in the shower. Then the sweating, then the pain hit (though the pain wasn’t near as intense as it had been days ago). I slept like a rock till 2 am when I woke, took a couple of Tylenol, then sat on the couch to watch a movie, figuring I’d be up the rest of the night. I fell asleep on the couch and didn’t wake up till 7am (!) and I felt good.
I was nervous about the days’ ride, though. We were going to do 62-1/2 miles and it was going to start out chilly but warm up a little over the few hours we’d be out riding. The wind was strong out of the south southwest – 15-mph (24 km/h). I tried to push the negativity to the back of my mind while I readied the bikes, ate some breakfast, and dressed to roll.
The ride started out ugly (I’m going to refrain from using names to protect the guilty). The lead guy was right on the white line, leaving no draft for the six behind. He went off the front almost immediately and the rest of us formed up so we would get a little draft. Another took a mile, then I did before falling back. At the back, one of the guys was literally riding the white line. No draft. The guy in front of him was a bike and a half off the others… I simply jumped the two of those guys and cut in line. I was fourth bike now. This kind of thing happens regularly until the group forms up. Under normal circumstances, it’s really not that big a deal. With the vaccine reaction, I ran thin on patience and energy almost immediately.
Then, one of the guys pulled off the front. Third bike, my wife at the helm. Almost immediately, it was decided to catch the guy off the front. The pace quickened and another guy went around my wife because, apparently, he didn’t think she was catching up fast enough. Second bike. In a quarter-mile I went from last bike to second without any rest.
I didn’t even say anything. I checked my radar, then up the road, and pulled out of the line. I turned around and said something to one of the guys and headed for home.
Originally, I’d figured I’d ride by myself, but as I hit the first mile south into the wind, I thought better of it. I turned around and went home. I wasn’t going to suffer a relapse in my vaccine reaction riding in that crap. My wife called to find out what happened and I explained that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with that crap.
Twenty minutes later, I was asleep on the couch.
An hour later, I was up, showered, and on my way to the bike shop where I picked up a Varia taillight for my wife, a mount for the light, and a new helmet for me (more on that another post). I felt awesome after my nap but never bothered to go back out for my ride. The sun came out on the way home, though, and the weather went from cool, cloudy and windy, to sunny, windy and quite nice. I took another nap.
I felt great all day, till about 4pm, when I couldn’t take it anymore. It was too nice outside. Sunny, low 60’s (17 C), still windy, but at that temp, who cares?
I prepped my Venge and went for an awesome, solo 22-miler. I shed my arm warmers and my light cap after five miles. Into the wind, I just relaxed and spun the cranks. With a tailwind, I’d pick up the pace, but not by much. I just enjoyed the sun and the ride… and my new helmet, which is amazing.
There was no relapse after the ride. No chills, no shivers, no sweating, and no Tylenol. I ended up with 30 miles on the day and, while I probably could have stayed with the gang, I’m glad I went out on my own. I’m close to back to normal, and I’m glad. I’ve had about enough of this crap! This was only supposed to last two days. It’s been a week.
Anyway, Happy Easter, my friends. And remember, as bad as things can get, it’s not Pontius Pilate bad:
PP: “Hey, what’s up?”
Bob: “Uh, the tomb is empty, and nobody broke in to steal the body of Jesus. It was sealed and stayed sealed, but the body is literally gone.”
PP: “Wait, what?”
PP: “You mean that really was the son of God!? And you losers made me kill him? Oh, $#!+.”
Look at the bright side; It’s never going to be “I killed the son of God” bad.
The weather was quite lovely yesterday, if excessively windy. Actually, it was really windy. I was still feeling a little run down from my vaccine and almost thought about taking the night off riding entirely (it’d been a couple of days, no ride Sunday or Monday). Then I went outside after a nap on the couch which had the affect of making me feel several dozen times better. The sun was shining and it was warm. I prepped the Trek. I thought about the Venge for a minute, but with 20-mph winds and gusts even higher, the Trek was the right bike.
I wasn’t taking the trip up to Lennon, though. First, I didn’t want to fight the wind in a group. Second, I didn’t want to work that hard feeling the way I did. Chuck didn’t want to mess with the wind in the group, either, so he rode with me.
It started out fantastically with crossing tailwind all the way to Chuck’s house. Then, Chuck took the lead heading out of his subdivision and chewed up all the headwind miles. I took over as we headed north, then a loop in a small sub followed by another half-mile north, followed by my only full-mile pull into a headwind for the whole ride.
Chuck and I had been talking regularly over the last few days and he knew I’d been hammered by my first shot and wasn’t feeling well, so he took every headwind mile except that one. He’d just stay up front till we hit a tailwind stretch then he’d fall back so I could take my turn. Folks, that’s a friend right there.
I ended up with 25 miles for the evening at an average pace of 16.8-mph and, while I felt slightly nauseous at times, I did have a smile on my face when I pulled into the driveway. I brought my bike in, uploaded my ride to Strava, found out I’d gotten Strava’d…
Then the chills hit. I was warm but felt like I was freezing. I was petrified that I’d done damage and maybe even set myself back. I shivered through my hot shower. I was just about to curl up in a ball on the couch when… after I dried off and put some fleece pants and my robe, bam. I felt marvelous. Just like that, I warmed up and felt wonderful all evening long.
I did take an Advil Dual Action (acetaminophen plus ibuprofen) before I went to bed – actually, 20 minutes before I laid down… don’t ever take a pain med then lay down for bed right after, supposedly that’s bad for your stomach. Anyway, I did sleep like a baby for a little more than 4-1/2 hours but I woke up a little sore. I went out to the pantry and took a regular Tylenol then fell back asleep in my recliner on the couch.
And here I sit at work, properly medicated, feeling quite good, actually. With temps approaching 50 this afternoon, I’ll have to evaluate how I feel later today. I’d like to get out for an afternoon ride, but I’m not going to push it, either. We’re in for a cold spell tomorrow, followed by a wonderful weekend for cycling. I want to be 100% for that, so I’m not going to mess around with trying to do too much, too fast.
Fingers crossed that I’m through this – I really do feel quite well this morning. Fingers crossed.